Obligation Free Advice
We advise on the best options and likely cost for your needs and situation so you can make an informed decision.
We guide you on the best value for money choices, and after owning many of the popular imports ourselves we can also provide useful details about fuel economy, practicality and comfort to help you decide what is best for you and your family.
One of the reasons that we have such a high client satisfaction rate is that we take the time to determine up front whether direct import can meet your expectations.
Things are constantly changing and if there is a better option, we will tell you.
The best thing is that our advice is always fast, free, honest and thorough — in fact we are known for it.
So ask as many questions as you like !
Automated Auction Updates
Our auction alerts system will email you daily updates for any model.
Easily monitor suitable vehicles at auctions across Japan.
This covers all the best auctions so you won’t miss a thing.
FREE TRIAL our system to see how it works.
Ask us anything you need to know to feel comfortable with the costs and process.
Please note you would need to become a client by paying our service fee PRIOR to a suitable vehicle coming up on auction day to enable us to inspect and bid for you.
As auctions move quickly in Japan and most vehicles come up with limited notice, we recommend you prepare in advance once you have decided to use our service.
For more information please see How to Buy and Preparing to Bid at Auction.
Physical Auction Inspections
To better understand what we provide on auction day, you can view past examples of inspected vehicles and read our Testimonials to hear what our clients have to say about the process.
Our agents inspect vehicles of interest in person to ensure quality.
It is critical to use someone you trust to provide honest and accurate inspections so you know the true condition.
This inspection is additional to the standard inspection by auction staff (recorded on the auction sheets shown on our system). Auction sheets are used as a guide only, we conduct our own thorough inspection to identify any faults.
More pictures and details are provided on auction day, including running condition, factory options, aftermarket parts, interior, exterior and underbody. We then call you to discuss the vehicle condition and features in detail, and if suitable to buy we will guide you in setting your auction bid limit with respect to market prices and your budget.
We inspect as many vehicles as necessary to find the one you want.
We never charge for additional inspections or bidding so you can relax and take the time you need to find the perfect vehicle.
Thorough inspections are the most critical part of the import process. We are therefore very selective and report the actual condition so you can either avoid the vehicle or adjust your budget accordingly.
As neither we nor our agent own the vehicle, it’s in our interest to provide you with all available information.
When we have confirmed a vehicle is of suitable quality and you wish to bid, our agent will bid for you up to your maximum limit by pushing a button linked to a computer and their auction member account.
The auctions move quickly with each vehicle sold in about 10 seconds. The green light will come on once the seller’s reserve price is met then the highest bidder wins.
Vehicles not reaching reserve will ‘pass in’. In that case we can then deal with the seller through the auction negotiation desk and will communicate with you regarding the process and their desired price.
The above video shows HAA Kobe auction. This is a typical auction with multiple lanes of vehicles selling simultaneously. As you can see, there is no time to communicate with you once our agent starts bidding so the bid you provide to us should be your best.
We manage the Japan side for your convenience so you simply have one point of contact with us throughout the process.
We will update you with the result as soon as the vehicle has gone through auction.
Once you are successful on a vehicle within your budget you only pay the actual auction price plus the fee of our agent in Japan.
In most cases the agent fee will be between 100,000 and 120,000 Japanese Yen depending on auction location and purchase price.
This is separate to our service fee and is a normal part of buying a vehicle at auction. It covers auction fees, transport, deregistration and related costs in Japan.
Vehicles above 1 million Yen purchase price attract slightly higher agent fees on a sliding scale, this generally works out to be about $200 more for every additional $5,000 vehicle price. Agent fees do vary… and so does service.
We have been using our agents for many years because they charge a reasonable rate for excellent inspections and efficient export procedures.
We have taken time to attend auction in Japan and inspect vehicles with them, so they fully understand the quality we require for our clients.
After many years of dealing with the same agents, these personal relationships naturally benefit our clients through a reliable and honest service with risk free payments.
Just one part of the unseen service and value that a good import agent provides.
We ask that you send payment to our agent within 3 to 5 working days by telegraphic transfer.
We recommend using OFX or another low fee online transfer option as this can save you as much as 5% on your transfer and is also very convenient.
It is a good idea to set up your account in advance, as it usually takes a day or two to finalise. That way you will be ready to transfer funds as soon as a suitable vehicle has been purchased for you.
Transport from Auction
Vehicles are transported from auction to our agent’s secure holding area where they are stored awaiting shipping. This will either be their own secure yard or a Customs bonded area under 24 hour security surveillance.
Transport generally takes 3 to 7 days depending on the auction and distance.
More pictures will be taken for you following arrival, and emailed through.
Typically your vehicle will remain in our agent’s storage area for several weeks. During this time your payment will be confirmed, the vehicle deregistered, and shipping booked on the next available vessel.
We keep you regularly updated at every stage so you will always know what’s going on.
We ship directly from Japan to the Port nearest you at a very competitive rate.
Occasionally depending on the model and compliance availability, it may be more logistically effective or cheaper to send a vehicle to another Port, with road transport to you following compliance.
This would be discussed in detail, along with any costs, before you become a client.
A shipping schedule is generally provided to you within 2 weeks of payment. Your Customs Agent and compliance workshop will also be advised of the schedule.
Shipping paperwork (Bill of Lading) will be emailed to you within a week of your vehicle leaving Japan.
Most vehicles take between 4 to 6 weeks to arrive in Australia from the day of purchase at auction.
Allow another 2 to 3 weeks for race / rally vehicles as we wait for an Import Approval to be available prior to shipping.
Shipping time to other countries varies depending on distance and available services.
Export Certificate and Genuine kms
The Export Certificate is produced by Japanese Customs from the deregistration document and shows the kms at past registration inspections in Japan.
Japanese vehicles undergo their first physical roadworthy inspection after 3 years, then every 2 years.
The date and kms are recorded on the registration paper and this information is then carried onto the Export Certificate following deregistration.
This allows you to check the natural progression of kms throughout the life of your vehicle, which will match the kms shown at auction.
This peace of mind is one of the benefits of importing your own vehicle. You can also provide this information to a future buyer.
Odometer tampering is a criminal act in Japan as shown in this auction poster.
It rarely happens prior to auction as there is a high risk of losing auction membership and further serious penalties. But it does happen after auction and prior to export at the request of some unscrupulous operators or following arrival in other countries.
Auctions match chassis numbers to past auction information which identifies any inconsistency in kms if the vehicle has been auctioned before.
Auction staff note any incorrect odometer readings during their inspections.
Following shipping the original copy of the Export Certificate will be sent to you from Japan by EMS.
Included in this package will be any books, service records, spare keys, remote controls or other items provided separately by the previous owner after the auction.
We provide the EMS item number which allows you to track your package online. This generally takes 3 to 5 days to arrive at your address.
Customs and Quarantine Clearance
Our recommended Customs Agent will clear your vehicle through Customs and Quarantine. This generally takes 3 to 7 days.
Our regular shipping service to Australia includes a Quarantine pre-inspection and clean in Japan at no extra charge. This prevents any additional Quarantine cleaning and transport charges in Australia which could otherwise be quite costly.
The Customs Agent will invoice you for shipping, import duties, GST and clearance costs prior to organising delivery to you or your workshop.
If compliance is required for your vehicle, this will be undertaken by our recommended workshop or another of your own choice.
Compliance is the process of checks and upgrades to ensure that relevant safety and emissions regulations are met and is usually complete within several days to a week.
Paperwork is submitted online by the workshop for Govt. processing, which generally takes 1 to 2 weeks but occasionally longer depending on workload or other factors.
Once finalised, a small magenta coloured compliance plate sticker is produced and posted to the workshop.
This is fitted to your vehicle which is then ready for registration.
Registering your vehicle is relatively simple, with online roadworthy inspection bookings and vehicle movement permits available for most States.
If required, most of our recommended workshops can organise the inspection and registration process for you as an extra service.
Once registered, your imported vehicle is treated the same as any other licensed vehicle.
Why Use an Import Agent ?
You could of course do it all yourself. However, without any experience it’s relatively easy to make mistakes which far exceed the cost of using an agent and result in months of unnecessary stress.
When importing you need to know some important things:
What vehicles are eligible for import
How to obtain an Import Approval and get the vehicle through Customs and Quarantine
Requirements for importing air conditioning gases and asbestos
Where to buy to get the best price
How the auctions work – the traps to avoid and how to choose the best vehicle
Who you can trust in Japan to source a quality vehicle and export it safely and efficiently